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SPECTRUM Journal of Student Research at Saint Francis University

Volume 7 (4) Spring 2017


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SPECTRUM: Journal of Student Research at Saint Francis University Volume 7 Issue 3 Table of Contents Effect of Deep Breathing Relaxation on Pulse Rate and Test Anxiety Lisa K. Casale; Ashley G. King; Regan E. Stubbs; Marnie L. Moist

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Positive Psychology and College Athletes with Individualist and Collectivist Self-Construal Francis de Vries; Marnie L. Moist

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Call for papers

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(Student authors’ names underlined.)

Faculty Editors: Balazs Hargittai Professor of Chemistry bhargittai@francis.edu

Grant Julin Associate Professor of Philosophy gjulin@francis.edu

Student Editorial Board: Allison Bivens ’12 Hayden Elliott Paul Johns ’07 Jonathan Miller ’08 Morgan Onink Miranda Reed William Shee Stephanie Wilson

Managing Designer: Grace McKernan

Cover: Photo by Grace McKernan

Kayla Brennan Eric Horell ’13 Elise Lofgren ‘14 Steven Mosey ‘14 Shaelyn Parry Hannah Retherford Margaret Thompson Staci Wolfe


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Effect of Deep Breathing Relaxation on Pulse Rate and Test Anxiety [Research conducted for PSYC 202 (Research Methods and Statistics II)] Lisa K. Casale Occupational Therapy Department School of Health Sciences lkc100@francis.edu

Ashley G. King Occupational Therapy Department School of Health Sciences agk100@francis.edu

Regan E. Stubbs Occupational Therapy Department School of Health Sciences res122@francis.edu

Marnie L. Moist, Ph.D. Psychology Department School of Arts & Letters mmoist@francis.edu

We investigated ways to alleviate test anxiety in college students. There were 10 male and 33 female undergraduates from a small, north-eastern University. Two sections of the same class were randomly assigned to the experiment or control group. Participants were instructed to rate their anxiety and take their pulse rates as soon as class started on the day of an exam. Students then completed a deep breathing relaxation exercise or prepared normally for five minutes before the exam. Then, the participants rated their anxiety and took their pulse again prior to the start of the test. The results showed that the experimental group had significantly lower pulse rates after the exercise than the control group, but no significant change was found concerning anxiety levels. Deep breathing may be an effective way to lower physical signs of anxiety, yet these benefits may not be cognitively realized. Examinations are a central method of evaluation in the education system. Generally, students are required to demonstrate their knowledge of a particular topic by writing about it or through selecting the correct answer out of multiple choices. While it is normal to feel slightly nervous or anxious prior to an exam or quiz, some students experience a crippling fear of failing, which may interfere with their performance on an exam. These students may be perfectly competent and able to apply the material in hands-on, real-life situations, but because of their test anxiety, they may never have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge. While disabling test anxiety is a condition that affects some students, the level of test anxiety between individuals can range from mild to severe. Our study aimed to investigate undiagnosed cases of test anxiety along this continuum. In any case, it is important for these students to find practical ways to overcome test

anxiety in order to succeed. This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of one practical option. Test anxiety, as defined by Karatas, Alci and Aydin (2013) is a situation-specific form of anxiety that is characterized by excessive worry of failing an exam and is accompanied by a heightened physiological response. Test anxiety is made up of two parts. One component is emotionality, which is responsible for physiological arousal. The second component is worry, which is the cognitive aspect of test anxiety (Cassady & Johnson, 2001; Dendato & Diener, 1986; Karatas et al., 2013; Morris & Liebert, 1970). The interplay between these two elements makes test anxiety a rather complex condition to treat, and some researchers disagree on the best methods to treat test anxiety. Furthermore, some studies have shown that lower test anxiety correlates with higher exam scores (Karatas et. al, 2013; Rhoads & Healy, 2013; Zeidner, Klingman & Papko, 1988), while other studies have found that a


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reduction in test anxiety does not always have a positive influence on exam scores (Dendato & Diener, 1986). Students who have test anxiety may know the correct answers on a given test but may be unable to access and express their knowledge due to their debilitating anxiety. Researchers speculate that one possible explanation for this is that the worry component of anxiety occupies a person’s working memory. Working memory is the part of memory that allows one to actively think. Working memory has a limited storage capacity. If a person with test anxiety is actively worrying about failing an exam while attempting to take it, these thoughts about worry would occupy space in working memory and prevent the individual from being able to actively think about the exam material (Karatas et. al, 2013). In this way, worrying that stems from test anxiety would draw attention away from the exam. The emotionality component of test anxiety can be assessed by a physiological measure. One physiological indicator of anxiety is blood pressure. Blood pressure is a measure of the amount of force that the blood exerts on the arteries after it is pumped out of the heart (Gylys & Wedding, 2013). As an individual’s level of anxiety increases, blood pressure increases also. This makes blood pressure an accepted indicator of anxiety levels (Morris & Liebert, 1970). However, because of the white coat phenomenon, an occurrence in which the subject’s blood pressure rises simply because of the presence of a doctor or experimenter, blood pressure may not be the most reliable measure of anxiety. For this and other practical reasons, we used pulse rate as a physiological measure of anxiety. A person’s pulse is the feeling of blood being pumped from the heart through the arteries (Gylys & Wedding, 2013). By taking one’s pulse rate, a person can measure how many times his or her heart beats per minute. A higher pulse rate is indicative of higher levels of stress or anxiety (Morris & Liebert, 1970). In our study, we asked the participants to take their own pulses, which left our data open to the possibility of participant error. Despite this risk, we still used pulse rate as a measure of physiological anxiety because time and money constraints made taking blood pressure impractical.

4 To address the worry aspect of test anxiety, we used a self-perceived test anxiety survey. The survey asked students to cognitively rate their anxiety levels. However, it was imperative that the self-perceived anxiety survey be administered before students take their own pulse because it has been shown that physiological measures of anxiety are weakly correlated (r = 0.28) with self-perceived anxiety when a cognitive survey is given first. It was found that there is no relationship (r = 0.047) between self-perceived anxiety and pulse rate when the physiological measure is taken first (Morris & Liebert, 1970). Karatas et al. (2013) investigated the correlations between test anxiety (TA), grade point average (GPA), and university entry exam scores (UEE) in Turkish high school students. The study also investigated whether or not gender played a role in test anxiety and academic performance. The study was executed by having male and female students take the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI) and obtaining access to their academic records. The researchers found a significant positive correlation between UEE scores and GPA in both males and females. The results also showed that there was no significant relationship between TA and GPA in both males and females. Additionally, it was discovered that there was a significant negative relationship between TA and UEE scores in females but not in males. This study is important, because it established a connection between exam scores and test anxiety. Because grades in most college courses are largely based on exams and not assignments, test anxiety may affect academic performance (specifically exam scores and even overall GPA) in college students more than high school students. Another notable finding in this study was that female students have higher levels of TA than male students. The population of students that we tested was largely female, so this was important information to consider when analyzing the data. Rhoads and Healy (2013) explored a variety of prior-to-exam exercises to determine which one was most effective in reducing test anxiety and increasing academic performance in college students who were business majors. The researchers


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in this study presumed that the level of test anxiety is directly related to academic performance on exams, and therefore only collected students’ exam scores. College students were placed into one of four groups and were instructed to either exercise aerobically, breathe deeply and cognitively imagine doing well on the exam, study, or behave as they normally would. These activities were performed for five minutes prior to both a hands-on, computer skills exam where students had to actively run a program to answer questions and a traditional multiple choice exam. The researchers speculated that a hands-on exam is more anxiety-provoking than a traditional exam, and because of this, students’ test scores on this exam would be more affected by prior-to-exam activities than their scores on a traditional exam. The results showed that students in the deep breathing and cognitive imagery group performed significantly better on the handson exam in comparison to the other groups. However, the deep breathing and cognitive imagery group did not perform significantly better on the traditional exam than the other groups, although their average scores were a bit higher. This study showed the relationship between exam performance and relaxation techniques. Our study bridged the gap between relaxation and exam scores by investigating if relaxation can reduce anxiety levels. Zeidner, Klingman, and Papko (1988) studied ways to alleviate and prevent test anxiety in fifthand sixth-grade students. In their study, all students were tested for their level of test anxiety, their scores on a math exam, their scores on a verbal exam, and their speed, accuracy, and memory. Teachers were randomly assigned to either a test anxiety intervention group or a control group. The teachers in the experimental group were educated on the causes and nature of test anxiety. They were also trained in deep-breathing relaxation techniques, rational thinking, coping imagery, and time management. Students were divided up based on home-room teacher. The home-room teachers in the experimental group subsequently passed their knowledge and test anxiety coping skills on to the students in their home-room class. Students in the experimental group underwent educational sessions

5 in which their teacher taught them how to cope with anxiety during a test by performing deep breathing exercises, managing their time, coping with intrusive thoughts, and focusing their attention on the exam. Students and teachers in the control group received no education or training. Then, the students were assessed again on their test anxiety level, their math test scores, and their verbal test scores, and their speed, accuracy, and memory. The results showed that although student’s self-reported anxiety scores for those in the experimental group did not improve throughout the experiment, their scores on all post-test exams did improve. One reason that students in the experimental group may not have shown a decrease in their levels of test anxiety is that they may have been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of suggestions and training that they went through, which may have created anxiety rather than reduced it. Another reason could be that these young students were not able to accurately assess their levels of test anxiety. In this case, it may be helpful to use a physiological measure of test anxiety as well. Dendato and Diener (1986) studied college students who had high levels of self-reported test anxiety. These students were divided into one of four groups: a cognitive therapy and deep muscle relaxation group (CR); a cognitive therapy, deep muscle relaxation, and study-skills training group (CRS); a study-skills training group (SS); and a control group with no manipulation. The groups received a total of 6 hours of training over the course of 6 weeks. The results showed that students in the SS group did not improve their test performance or have a reduction in anxiety. The students in the CR group showed a decrease in their anxiety levels, but did not improve their test scores. The students in the CRS group showed both an improvement in exam scores and lower levels of test anxiety. This study addressed both the cognitive worry component of test anxiety through cognitive therapy as well as the physiological emotionality component through deep muscle relaxation. It also addressed the idea that students who have test anxiety may be ill-prepared for an exam and that having poor study habits could also be an underlying cause of test anxiety.


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Similar to the Rhoads and Healy (2013) and Zeidner et al. (1988) experiments, our study examined the effectiveness of a deep-breathing relaxation technique. One difference between our experiment and their experiment was the population. We tested undergraduate students from a variety of different majors, as opposed to business majors or younger students. Additionally, the students that we tested were only taking a traditional exam, not a hands-on application exam. Although Rhoads and Healy’s (2013) study showed that their subjects only improved significantly in the hands-on exam, it is important to take note of the particular population of subjects that they tested. Rhoads and Healy tested students who were computer science majors. It is likely that these students would find a hands-on computer application exam more stressful than a traditional exam, and therefore have a larger opportunity for relaxation, because a hands-on exam is more applicable to their major. The students that we tested, on the other hand, were mostly likely health science or psychology majors due to the nature of the class and the general population of the university. These students completed our study prior to a psychology exam in a collateral class, meaning they needed a certain grade in the class to remain in their chosen program of study. Therefore, this type of traditional exam in this specific situation was assumed to be sensitive enough to detect changes in test anxiety prior to the exam. One final key difference was that we directly measured test anxiety through pulse rate and a self-reported test anxiety scale. Unlike Dendato and Diener’s (1986), Rhoades and Healy (2013), and Zeidner et al. (1988), our study does not aim to raise test scores; we only aimed to lower test anxiety levels before a single exam. Our reasoning for this is that, if cognitive and physiological anxiety decrease after a deep breathing relaxation exercise, exam scores should have a better chance of reflecting students’ true knowledge of the topic rather than level of anxiety or level of cognitive worry. According to Morris and Liebert (1970) this measure of anxiety is more sensitive than comparing exam scores by themselves. The results of their study found that while there was no relationship between

6 emotionality and the exam scores of the participants, there was a significant relationship (r = 0.272) between emotionality and the pulse rate of the participants. This makes pulse a sufficiently sensitive measure. Additionally, we used one technique, deep-breathing relaxation, in an attempt to lower both forms of anxiety rather than a combination of many techniques (Dendato & Diener, 1986; Rhoads & Healy, 2013; Zeidner et al., 1988) with the conviction that one parsimonious technique may lower test anxiety scores more easily and effectively before an exam. Our study was unique in that it isolated a distinct form of relaxation and investigated its effectiveness in reducing cognitive and physical test anxiety levels prior to exam completion. In the literature, various methods of relaxation have been reported to reduce anxiety. Among these methods are progressive muscle relaxation, music therapy, and deep breathing relaxation (Dendato & Diener, 1986; Ewart et al., 1987; Rhoads & Healy, 2013; Robb, Nichols, Rutan, Bishop, & Parker, 1995). In our study, we chose to use deep breathing as our experimental method of relaxation. One reason that we chose to use a deep breathing exercise for our experimental group is its effectiveness. As we previously mentioned, it has been reported that deep breathing exercises are effective in reducing stress (Rhoads & Healy, 2013). Another reason that we chose deep breathing relaxation for this study is its practicality. Unlike music therapy, deep breathing exercises can be unobtrusively carried out anywhere. Additionally, deep breathing can be done quickly, which makes it ideal for a busy college student who is looking for a way to de-stress five minutes before an exam. Upon reading about deep breathing relaxation, the question was posed: could a deep breathing relaxation exercise be implemented in the classroom in order to effectively alleviate test anxiety among college students? To answer this question, we carried out an experiment on college students at a small, north-eastern, Catholic university in an attempt to find a way to reduce test anxiety. The participants were undergraduate students attending the university. They naturally belonged to either the


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control group or the experimental group depending on which section of a class they elected to take. The sections differed only by time. Both classes were taught by the same professor on the same topic. The classes were randomly assigned as a whole to the control or experimental group by the flip of a coin. Participants in both groups were instructed to fill out a self-rated anxiety survey and then take their pulse upon the start of the class. This order was chosen due to the results of the Morris and Liebert study (1970), which stated that self-perceived anxiety and pulse rate were highly correlated only when the selfperceived test anxiety survey was administered before the physiological measure. The students in our study self-reported both their perceived test anxiety and their pulse rate by writing them down on the indicated paper provided by the researchers. Then, the students in the control group were instructed to behave as they normally would for five minutes prior to the exam. The students in the experimental group, however, were instructed to complete a deep breathing relaxation exercise for five minutes prior to the exam. After the five minute time period was up, all of the students self-rated their test anxiety level and took their pulse again. They reported both of these measures on the indicated paper provided by the researchers. We expected to find that before the exam, students in the experimental group would have a significantly greater decrease than controls in pulse rates and selfrated anxiety level the second time pulse rates were measured compared to the first time the pulse rates were measured. Research in the past has indicated that deep breathing is an effective way to lower test anxiety in college students prior to an exam (Rhoads & Healy, 2013). Our study hoped to find that these results would be significant in our population. Methods Participants. The participants in this study were a sample of undergraduate students from a small, rural, Catholic University located in central Pennsylvania. A convenient sample was used from the total population of 1696 undergraduate students. Out of a total of 43 participants, 33 were female and 10 were male. Participants were taken from two

7 different sections of a psychology class. Both sections learned the same material, occurred at the same time of day, took the same exams, and were taught by the same professor. Each differed only by the day of the week the class occurred. All students in these classes were offered a place in the study. Students were given the option to decline. All of the students who were present on the day of the exam chose to participate. For the data to be valid, the participants were required to meet certain criteria. Each participant was required to be a full-time undergraduate student who was taking the particular class for the first time for a total of three credits. Additionally, we screened out all of the participants who were part of an adult continuing education program (n = 1); who were diagnosed with test anxiety (n = 2); and who were retaking the class (n = 1). In total we had 16 participants who were freshman, 17 who were sophomores, 5 who were juniors, and 0 who were seniors. The mean age of the participants was 19.28. We chose to not screen out those who regularly took exams in the Center for Academic Success, because if they were present in the classroom at the time of the exam, then their test anxiety must have been sufficiently low to allow them to take this exam in a regular classroom. We also did not screen out those who had a medical condition that prevented them from breathing through their nose because the majority of our participants (n = 14) reported that they had sinus congestion at the time of the experiment. Materials. Throughout this study many different materials were used to gather the necessary information. A timer was needed to time each portion of the procedure. This was necessary to ensure that each group spent the same amount of time on the task required, specifically five minutes for each condition and fifteen seconds each time the pulse was taken. The timer used was the preinstalled timer application on an Apple iPhone 5c. Several surveys and tests were utilized. The first was a self-written demographic survey with nine close-ended questions and one open-ended question (see Appendix 1). This portion of the survey was necessary in order to determine specific


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characteristics of each of the participants and to discover any characteristics that would create confounds in the study. Following was a set of questions regarding the general anxiety of the participants. This portion featured four close-ended questions that were adapted from a full survey written by Cohen and Williamson (1988) (see Appendix 2). These four questions were chosen from a set of ten questions based on which questions most directly applied to the purpose of our study. The number of questions was limited to fit the time constraint due to the sixty minute exam required by the professor to be completed after the experiment. Two of these questions were reverse coded so that there were two positively phrased questions and two negatively phrased questions. In addition to these adaptations, the rating scale was changed from the original never, almost never, sometimes, fairly often, and very often to almost every day, more days than not, fewer days than not, and only a few days. Reverse coding two of the items allowed us to discard any scores where the participant simply answered either one extreme or the other for all survey items, while the change in rating scale provided the participants with more specific answer choices. The Cohen survey tested the validity and reliability of a 10-item, shortened version of an originally 14-item survey. This 10-item survey had an internal reliability of .78 and a validity of r = .36. We chose questions concerning the participant’s general anxiety in order to screen out subjects who may have general anxiety rather than test anxiety. These questions were used to determine the amount of anxiety the participants experienced on a normal basis, not related to anxiety while testing. If this anxiety is extremely high, the participant may not be suffering from any sort of test anxiety, but simply general anxiety. If any participants had general anxiety as opposed to test anxiety, their data may confound our results. After finding these results, no participants showed a high amount of general anxiety (M = 2.19). Therefore, there were no participants that would have confounded the results. In addition, due to the low number of participants that we tested, we did not remove any more data from the results.

8 The next set of questions focused specifically on test anxiety. The five close-ended questions were adapted from Taylor and Deane’s (2002) Short Form of the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI) (see Appendix 3). The five original questions used in the short form were utilized in this survey. The survey had a Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient of 0.87. Two of the questions focused on emotionality and two of the questions focused on worry. The last was a neutral question. A rating scale was added to the original survey items which gave the options of strongly disagree, disagree, agree, and strongly agree. In addition, two of the five original questions were reverse coded. Adding a rating scale gave the participants an effective way of answering each survey item, while reverse coding two questions screened out any participants who simply chose the same extreme for each question. The purpose of including these questions in the survey was to determine the approximate level of test anxiety each participant experienced across all testing situations. These questions were not meant to measure participants’ test anxiety related to the exam they were taking directly after completing the study. Rather, these questions were used as a screening tool. We were not clinically qualified to treat test anxiety; therefore, our ideal participants for this study had mild to moderate levels of test anxiety. If a participant’s test anxiety is too high or low, it may alter the effectiveness of the relaxation techniques on the participants and thus affect our results. Hence, participants who were diagnosed with test anxiety were previously screened out. Because some participants may be college freshmen, it is possible that there may be undiagnosed cases of test anxiety in our population. All three sets of previously mentioned questions were put together into one survey with separate sets of directions for each. However, upon analyzing the data we chose not to screen out any participants due to these specifications. Once again, because we tested a small number of individuals, and we could not afford to lose more participants. In addition, when looking at the results, the participants who were diagnosed with test anxiety (M = 2.86) did not score any higher than other participants (M = 2.87) on this


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scale, which may indicate that this may not have been a valid measure of general test anxiety. In order to measure situation-specific test anxiety, a self-rated anxiety scale was included in the directions for the participants during the study. This scale was self-created and featured a five point scale (1 = not very stressed and five = very stressed) (see Appendix 4). The scale was administered twice to the participants: once immediately before the start of the deep breathing exercise or control activity and once immediately after the completion of these activities. The purpose of this question was to determine the level of the participants’ test anxiety directly before taking part in the deep breathing relaxation exercise or control activity and immediately afterwards. After the study, these two scores were then subtracted in order to determine the change in the cognitive level of test anxiety due to the deep breathing exercise. Following this question were multiple sets of directions that were used to aid the participants in what to do for each portion of the study. The directions were self-written and were different for each condition because the experimental condition underwent a deep breathing exercise while the control condition did not. Therefore, the students in the control condition were instructed to behave as they normally would before the exam for five minutes, while the students in the experimental condition were given detailed instructions of how to perform a deep-breathing exercise for five minutes. Directions for the deep breathing exercises were obtained from Dartmouth College’s website (see Appendix 5). The exercise requires five steps. The first was altered so as to avoid potential confounds by instructing the participants to sit while completing the activity rather than having the option to sit or stand as well as instructing the participants to hold their breath for two seconds rather than having the option for two or three seconds (Davis, Eshelman, & McKay, 1982). Design and Procedure. In order to accurately study the effect of deep breathing relaxation on test anxiety, two different conditions were needed: the deep breathing group and the control group. Both conditions were treated as similarly as possible.

9 Both groups were instructed to complete one survey in addition to taking their own pulse. However, the control group was instructed to take five minutes to prepare as they normally would before the exam. The experimental condition was instructed to participate in a deep breathing activity for five minutes prior to the exam. Two different measures, pulse rate and a self-rated test anxiety scale, were used to determine the level of test anxiety in the participants before and after the groups completed their designated activity. The difference in recorded pulse before and after the completed activity was used to measure the change in physiological anxiety. The difference in self-rated anxiety before and after the completed activity was used to measure the change in cognitive worry. Collectively, these two calculations measured test anxiety. Because a convenient sample was used from two different sections of the same abnormal psychology class taught by the same professor, certain measures had to be taken. When in the classroom, students sit close to each other and are easily able to observe the other students in the room. Due to practical issues, having different students within the same classroom in different conditions was almost impossible. To solve this issue, the entirety of each class was randomly assigned to a single condition. Students from each class as a whole were randomly assigned to one of two conditions by the flip of a coin. As each class was assigned to a different condition, this study was a between-subjects design. The study as a whole was experimental and a simple randomized design was used. Within the surveys, the two sets of prepublished anxiety scales were counterbalanced with each other. In addition, the stimuli themselves were randomized within their respective sections. This was done to avoid order effects within the data retrieved from the various surveys. The self-rated anxiety scale was not counterbalanced with these two scales because it was completed each time the participants took their own pulse. Both occurred before and after the deep breathing or control intervention. The order of the directions for taking one’s pulse and self-rating one’s anxiety were not


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counterbalanced. This was done to avoid deterring the validity of the participant’s responses to the selfrated anxiety scale. It has been shown that when using both a physiological measure, such as pulse or blood pressure, and a cognitive measure, such as a self-reported scale, completing the physiological measure first may ensure that no significant relationship will be found between the self-rated anxiety level and the physiological measure (Morris & Liebert, 1970). The reason for this is that participants may become too self-conscious of their pulse; they might think or worry that it is higher or lower than normal. Then, rather than reporting their anxiety level according to how they feel at the moment, they may try to interpret their pulse rate. In this way, pulse rate may be a misleading confound when taken before the self-rated anxiety question is answered. Therefore, it was imperative that the participants consistently take their pulses only after completing the self-rated anxiety scale. Because we were tracking the change in both cognitive and physiological test anxiety over time in each group, our study contained an unavoidable flaw. The second measure of cognitive test anxiety must be administered after the first physiological measure of test anxiety and before the second physiological measure of test anxiety. This may seem contradictory, but it was necessary in order to measure changes over time. It was our hope that the five minutes of intervention time for all groups would clear the participants’ minds sufficiently so that these two measures would not affect each other. The study was carried out only after the first exam of the semester was completed. This was done to ensure that the students had ample time to adjust to a new professor and his style of exams on that particular subject. The specific exam was chosen by the professor for their convenience. The researchers entered the room prior to the exam to complete the study. Throughout the study researchers read from a script to instruct the participants on how to proceed and when to begin each portion of the directions. The researchers entered the classroom two separate times. The first was the class day before the day of the exam. After all students entered the room and

10 took their places, they were asked to participate as follows: Hi my name is Lisa. I’m Ashley, and I’m Regan. We are all Occupational Therapy majors taking psychology 202. For those of you who don’t know, that is Research Methods and Statistics. As part of the class we have to conduct an experimental research study, and we are here to ask you to participate in ours. It is completely normal to be nervous before an exam. We have all been nervous at some point prior to taking an exam, especially in a required college class. This is what we are investigating with our study. Our study is important because as a college student you will be taking exams for the rest of your college career. We are going to pass around a consent form that explains some details about our study. Please read over it and feel free ask us any questions that you have. If you want to participate in our study please sign the form that we gave you. If you don’t want to participate, there will be no judgement and you can simply go to a different room in Raymond Hall while the study is being conducted. When you are done we will come around to collect all the forms. Please consider participating and we would like to thank all of you for giving us your time.

This was done on a different day than the rest of the study to ensure that the participants would not feel pressured to participate. This day in the classroom lasted about ten minutes. Those who agreed to participate were given a consent form. Those who did not agree were given permission by the professor to take the exam elsewhere in Raymond Hall the day of the exam. On the day of the exam, after all students had entered the room and taken their places, the study began. The researchers once again followed a script and began by passing out a packet to each of the participants. The packet contained the demographic survey, questions on general anxiety, questions on general test anxiety, the cognitive measure of test anxiety, the physiological measure of test anxiety, and the directions for either the control activity or deep breathing activity. Each portion of the packet was separated by a blank white sheet of paper and participants were to turn the page only when instructed to do so. The demographic survey,


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general anxiety questions, and general test anxiety questions were completed first. Different versions of the survey were evenly distributed throughout the room. Students were instructed to follow along with the directions as they were read to them. After the directions were read the participants were given time to ask any questions. After all questions were answered, they were instructed to begin. After completion of the combined survey by all students, the participants were instructed to turn to the next section of the packet. The combined survey was completed in about five minutes. The second packet held the directions specific to the study. Once again, the students were instructed to follow along with the directions as they were read to them. The first page of the packet instructed the students to complete the cognitive measure of test anxiety as follows:

of the classroom to demonstrate. The students were asked to follow along with the researchers. When the directions were complete the researchers ensured that each participant was able to find a pulse and answered any questions. After all questions were answered the participants were instructed to begin. The pulse was taken for fifteen seconds and later multiplied by four by the researchers to account for a full minute as was done in the Morris and Liebert (1970) study. The next page of the packet differed according to condition. All groups had the directions read aloud to them, were given time to ask questions, and were informed to begin only when instructed. The control condition was instructed to spend five minutes preparing as normal for the exam as can be seen as follows:

For the following question please circle the number one through five, one meaning not at all stressed and five meaning very stressed, that best describes your anxiety level about the exam at this moment. Please answer as truthfully as you can. Your name and personal information will never be linked with your data.

A timer will be set for a total of five minutes. When instructed to begin, please silently prepare as you normally would before an exam. Try to utilize the entire five minutes. When the time is up, you will be instructed to put away all materials, keeping only a pencil with which to complete the exam. At this time please turn to the next page of directions.

After the directions were read, the participants were given time to ask any questions. After all questions were answered, they were instructed to begin. The self-rated anxiety scale took about one minute to complete and when all students were finished the participants were instructed to turn to the next page. The next page of the packet instructed the students to take and record their own pulse for the physiological measure of test anxiety as follows: Please proceed by taking your pulse. Use your pointer and middle finger to find the pulse in your wrist. Place these two fingers on the outside edge of your wrist, the same side as your thumb. Slowly slide your fingers toward the center of your wrist until you feel the pulse. When instructed to begin please count the number of beats you feel in your wrist until instructed to stop. Please write this number in the following space. The directions were read aloud to the students by one researcher as two researchers stood at the front

The experimental condition was instructed to participate in a deep breathing exercise for five minutes as can be seen in Appendix 5. One researcher read the directions out loud while two researchers demonstrated the directions in the front of the classroom. The students were asked to practice with the researchers and were signaled when to breathe in or out using hand motions. After all participants practiced deep breathing and were given time to ask questions, a timer was set for five minutes and the participants were instructed to begin. After five minutes had passed the participants were informed and asked to move to the next set of directions. The next page of the packet once again instructed the participants to complete an identical self-rated anxiety scale and once again take their own pulse using the same directions read aloud by the researcher. After the final pulse was recorded by all participants, the packets were collected. The participants were then instructed by the professor to begin their exam in whatever way was deemed


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appropriate by the professor. The researchers thanked the students and professor for their cooperation, gathered their belongings, and left the classroom. The procedure for each condition was completed in the same classroom. The classroom featured a total of 32 seats. Throughout the procedure, all participants were led through the directions simultaneously. This was held constant through both conditions. The control condition contained 17 participants who all completed the procedure simultaneously. This procedure was completed on a separate day of the week than the experimental condition, but at the same time of day. This was because of the setup of the class. The classes used for the study met only once a week for 150 minutes. Therefore, the two sections of the class met at the same time of day, but on different days. The experimental condition contained 21 participants who also completed the procedure simultaneously. For both conditions, the researchers were present and led the procedure from the front of the classroom. We planned to have the professor present throughout the experiment. In total the study took eighteen minutes to complete. In the classroom, students were typically given 60 minutes to complete an exam. According to the professor, the average student completed the exam in 20 minutes to 40 minutes. In total the class lasted for a total of 150 minutes. The study took approximately eighteen minutes. The students were then given 60 minutes, as usual, to complete the exam. Results For all of the following analyses the a priori alpha level used was 0.05, the standard alpha level. This means that all results were significant if p ≤ 0.05. All means reported for the independentsamples t-test were subject means, as all data for the experimental group was averaged together for one mean score and all data for the control group was averaged together for one mean score. An independent-samples t-test was run in order to compare the results of the mean difference in selfrated test anxiety and the results of the mean difference in pulse rates between those of the

12 experimental group and those of the control group. For the pairwise t-test, all means reported were item means. The mean difference for self-rated test anxiety was calculated by finding two averages: self-rated test anxiety before the deep breathing relaxation and self-rated test anxiety directly prior to the exam. The mean difference was then taken between these two scores. The mean differences for pulse rate were calculated the same way as well. A pairwise t-test was run in order to determine the mean difference in pulse rate and self-rated anxiety between fifteen minutes prior to the exam and just prior to the exam. For both tests one additional participant was screened out due to inability to follow instruction. For the pairwise t-test, additional data needed to be screened out. Any participants whose pulse rates increased after the five minute time period that participants were given to either study or deep breathe were later screened out. We screened out four individuals in the experimental group and thirteen in the control group due to this phenomenon. This is because it was clear that deep breathing was ineffective for these students. After screening out these individuals in the control group only four participants remained. Therefore, the pairwise t-test was not run for this condition. In total, four t-tests were run: one to compare anxiety levels between the two conditions, one to compare the pulse rates between the two conditions, one to compare the mean difference in anxiety levels from before the deep breathing intervention to directly after the deep breathing intervention in the experimental group, and one to compare the mean difference in pulse rates prior to the deep breathing intervention and after the deep breathing intervention in the experimental condition. The distribution for mean anxiety level in the experimental group was positively skewed. While this calls for the use of a nonparametric test, we chose to still run an independent samples t-test because our sample size (n = 21) may have been too small to obtain a truly normal distribution. The independent samples t-test revealed no significant mean difference in the fifteen minute period of the self-rated anxiety surveys between the experimental group (M = 0.05, SD = 0.97) and the control group


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13

(M = 0.18, SD = 0.88); t(36) = 0.74, p = 0.47. The control group showed greater difference in change in anxiety levels between fifteen minutes before the exam and directly prior to the exam than the experimental group; however, the difference was not significant. When running an independent samples t-test there must be a minimum of 26 participants per condition in order to have a large effect size. Our sample size was not large enough to obtain any of these effect sizes as we had less than 26 participants in each of our conditions. When running an independent samples t-test to compare the mean difference in the change in pulse rates between the experimental (M = 0.14, SD = 2.69) and control groups (M = 2.71, SD = 4.18), a significant result was obtained, showing that pulse rates decreased more in the experimental group than in the control group, t(36) = 2.54, p = 0.02. In order to have even a small effect size, the observed effect size must be greater than or equal to 0.20, therefore, we have less than a small effect size (g = 0.02). The effect of preparation before an exam on the difference in pulse rate and self-rated anxiety levels can be seen in Table 1. Preparation before an exam Mean Difference in Pulse Rate and Anxiety

Deep Breathing

Preparing Normally

M

0.14

- 2.71

SD

2.69

4.18

M

0.05

- 0.18

SD

0.97

0.88

Pulse

Anxiety

Table 1. Mean difference in pulse rate and self-rated anxiety levels as a function of preparation before an exam. [The mean difference in pulse rate was found by finding the difference from fifteen minutes before the intervention and immediately after the intervention. The mean difference in anxiety was calculated in the same manner.]

After screening out those individuals whose pulse rates increased between time one and time two, a pairwise t-test revealed no significant mean difference when comparing the difference in self rated anxiety levels between fifteen minutes prior to

the exam (M = 3.59, SD = 1.17) and just before the exam (M = 3.35, SD = 1.16) in the deep breathing group, t(16) = 1.29, p = 0.22. However, a pairwise ttest revealed that there was a significant decrease in pulse rates in the deep breathing group between fifteen minutes prior to the exam (M = 20.29, SD = 3.21) and just before the exam (M = 19.12, SD = 3.27), t(16) = 3.21, p = 0.01. The effect size was medium (g = 0.78), as a medium effect size must be greater than or equal to 0.50. We were unable to run a pairwise t-test on the control group after screening out those whose pulse rates went up, because the sample size was too small to run statistical analyses (n = 4). However, it should be noted that pulse rates went up in 19.05% of students in the experimental group but 76.71% in the control group between time one and time two. Discussion The results were partially supported; we found a significant mean difference in pulse rates between the experimental group and the control group. However, there was no significant mean difference in self-rated, current anxiety levels between the experimental group and the control group. Within the experimental group, pulse rates significantly decreased between fifteen-minutes before the exam and right before the exam, but no such significant results were found for self-rated anxiety levels. The James-Lange theory of emotion states that a person’s situation produces a physiological response, which elicits certain behaviors (Carlson, 2013). These behaviors continue to provide feedback that inform the emotional state. In this way, a person’s physiological response and behaviors inform the person’s feelings towards the event or situation (Carlson, 2013). Drawing from this theory, it may have been expected that the significant decrease in pulse rates in the experimental group would have simultaneously informed the group’s self-rated anxiety levels, which were our measure of emotionality. The selfrated anxiety would have interacted with the physiological change in pulse rate to produce a significant change in self-rated anxiety levels. However, this did not happen. One explanation


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could be that the participant’s experienced more of cognitive-based anxiety rather than an emotionallyfueled anxiety. This could be explained from a cognitive perspective. When a person experiences stress, he or she is using attentional resources to attempt to suppress or control these feeling of distress. In other words, attentional resources are consumed by cognitive anxiety. This causes the person to put all of his or her attentional resources towards suppression, which overloads the working memory and prevents the individual from cognitively focusing on the deep breathing task (Eysenck & Keane, 2015). This results in a physiological difference in pulse rate, but no cognitive difference in anxiety. However, because we excluded the participants whose pulse rates increased from the first measurement to the second measurement, this explanation is insufficient. A second theory could stem from the Cannon-Bard theory of emotions. The Cannon-Bard theory states that a stimulus will trigger both a physiological reaction and an emotion, or cognitive, reaction simultaneously. However, emotional reactions appear instantaneously and can be recognized quickly, while physiological reactions have a longer onset. This means that the emotional or cognitive worry reaction will be immediately recognized by the participant, which can distract them from the physiological changes that will occur later on. In addition, physiological reactions are much more difficult to detect (Carlson, 2013). So, while the deep-breathing group did demonstrate a significant decrease in pulse rates, this change may have not been strong enough to be cognitively detected, because it happened after they were already preoccupied by cognitive worry about the exam when they entered the classroom. One limitation of this study is the small sample size. Another limitation of the study is that we were not able to obtain race/ethnicity demographic information due to restraints placed by the IRB. Additionally, we were not able to run a pairwise ttest on the control group to determine if there was a difference in their self-rated anxiety or pulse rate between fifteen minutes before the exam and directly before the exam because of the loss of

14 subjects. Another limitation of the study is that the professor was present for the experimental group deep breathing session of the study but was not present during the control group normal preparation session. This could have made the students in the experimental group more anxious because their professor was present and watched them while they were deep breathing. In addition, because the deep breathing exercise required a quiet atmosphere, any loud noise could have interrupted the relaxation process; this occurred class-wide at least once. Finally, because the study took place on such a small campus, a lot of the participants in the control group personally knew one of the researchers. This could have influenced their responses on the surveys and could have made them more relaxed during the session. One key issue in this study is that most of the students have never practiced deep breathing or meditation before. The students may have been nervous and self-conscious about trying this new exercise for the first time, especially with the experimenters present. Karatas et al. (2013) found that female high school students had higher test anxiety compared to male high school students. Because the participants in our study were mostly female, this may help to explain why the students in the experimental group did not show a significant drop in self-rated anxiety. There may have been a ceiling effect in regards to test anxiety in this population of students despite the use of relaxation techniques. In Rhoads and Healy’s (2013) study, they found that students who did deep breathing and cognitive coping by imaging doing well on the exam performed better on the hands on exam, but did not do significantly better on the traditional exam. While we did not measure the exam scores of our participants, if exam scores are reflective of anxiety level, our results did not turn out as their results. One possible explanation is that we did not include a cognitive component. Perhaps if we would have directed our participants how to think during the deep breathing exercise, their selfrated test anxiety would have decreased because they may not have been so occupied with thoughts of worry. Zeidner, Klingman, and Papko (1988) found that in fifth and sixth grade students who self-


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rated their anxiety after completion of an educational session targeted to teach test anxiety reduction techniques, the students’ anxiety scores did not improve, but their post-test exam scores did improve. Similar to this study, we also did not see a significant decrease in the self-rated anxiety scores. However, we did observe a significant decrease in physiological anxiety because we added a pulse rate component to our measurements. Dendato and Diener (1986) found that students who completed a deep muscle relaxation, cognitive therapy, and study skill training program demonstrated an increase in test scores and a decrease in test anxiety. This study had both a physiological component and a cognitive component, which may have been why their participants had a significant decrease in test anxiety. In our study we may have overestimated the effectiveness of deep breathing relaxation for reducing cognitive anxiety. Therefore, adding a cognitive component during deep breathing has the potential to decrease both pulse rate and self-rated test anxiety. Our results have shown that deep breathing relaxation is an effective way to reduce the physiological component of test anxiety. However, deep breathing is not effective in reducing the cognitive worry component of test anxiety. Past studies have shown that deep breathing does not reduce self-rated test anxiety, but because we broke anxiety down into its two fundamental components, we were able to show that it is effective in reducing one element of test anxiety. Additionally, our study showed that cognitive anxiety may be more dominant than physiological test anxiety, meaning that cognitive anxiety is more salient or recognizable to a student than physiological anxiety. These findings could be applied in the real world to implement more effective test anxiety programs for students that include both a deep breathing component and a cognitive component. Additionally, since deep breathing is a quick activity, college students could easily integrate deep breathing, along with a cognitive coping strategy, into their pre-exam routines. Future research should look for a way to combine physiological and cognitive relaxation.

15 This could be done by informing students of what to think about while deep breathing. Furthermore, researchers could present additional stimuli, such as background music, to occupy students’ working memory during relaxation and distract them from worrisome thoughts. Additionally, changing the lighting of the room to a darker setting may help to relax students more so that they do not feel selfconscious while they are completing the deep breathing activity. Finally, having an actual deep breathing program consisting of multiple deep breathing practice sessions would allow students to become comfortable and familiar with deep breathing before the exam. This may increase the effectiveness of the activity and the comfort level of the students while they are performing the deep breathing. Decreasing the amount of time spent deep breathing may also be more effective in reducing self-rated test anxiety, because for students who are not familiar with deep breathing, the five minute time period that we required of our participants was too long. In this way, deep breathing should either be practiced more or the deep breathing time period should be reduced. Appendix 1 Directions: For the following questions please select or fill in the answer that best describes you. Please answer as truthfully as you can. Your name and personal information will never be linked with your data. 1. What is your gender? Please choose one: a. Male b. Female 2. What is your age in years? 3. What is your year in school currently? Please choose one: a. Freshman b. Sophomore c. Junior d. Senior e. Graduate-level/Adult Degree or Continuing Studies 4. Are you a full-time student at Saint Francis University who is taking 12 or more credits this semester? a. Yes b. No 5. Are you taking this class for credit? a. Yes b. No 6. Are you re-taking this class for a better grade? a. Yes, but with the same professor as before b. Yes, but with a different professor c. No 7. Do you practice deep breathing or another relaxation technique, such as yoga or meditation at least twice a week or more?


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16

a. Yes b. No 8. Have you been diagnosed with test anxiety in the past? a. Yes b. No 9. Do you for any reason take exams through the Center for Academic Success? a. Yes b. No 10. Do you currently have a cold or any type of nasal congestion? a. Yes b. No

Appendix 2 Directions: For the next set of questions please select the answer choice that best describes you. The rating scale identifies the number of times you have experienced each situation in the past month, one being only a few days and four being almost every day. Please answer as truthfully as you can. Your name and personal information will never be linked with your data. 1 Only a Few Days

2 Fewer Days than Not

3 More Days than Not

4 Almost Every Day

11. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life? 1 Only a Few Days

2

3

4 Almost Every Day

12. In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems? 1 Only a Few Days

2

3

4 Almost Every Day

13. In the last month, how often have you felt that things were going your way? 1 Only a Few Days

2

3

4 Almost Every Day

14. In the last month, how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them? 1 Only a Few Days

2

3

4 Almost Every Day

Appendix 3 Directions: For the next set of questions please select the answer choice that best describes you. The rating scale identifies your agreement with the following statements, one being strongly disagree and four being strongly agree. Please answer as truthfully as you can. Your name and personal information will never be linked with your data. 1 Strongly Disagree

2 Disagree

3 Agree

4 Strongly Agree

15. During tests I usually feel very confident. 1 Strongly Disagree

2

3

4 Strongly Agree

16. I wish examinations did not bother me so much. 1 Strongly Disagree

2

3

4 Strongly Agree

17. I seem to become less confident while working on important tests. 1 Strongly Disagree

2

3

4 Strongly Agree

18. I rarely feel panicky when I take an important test. 1 Strongly Disagree

2

3

4 Strongly Agree

19. During examinations I get so nervous that I forget facts I really know. 1 Strongly Disagree

2

3

4 Strongly Agree

Appendix 4 Directions: For the following question please circle the number one through five, one meaning not at all stressed and five meaning very stressed, that best describes your anxiety level about the exam at this moment. Please answer as truthfully as you can. Your name and personal information will never be linked with your data. On a scale of one to five how would you currently rate your anxiety where one equals not at all stressed and five equals very stressed? 1 Not at all stressed

2

3

4

5 Very stressed

Appendix 5 Directions: A timer will be set for a total of five minutes. When instructed to begin, please silently focus on your breathing as follows. 1. Sit with good posture. 2. Breathe through your nose. 3. Inhale, filling first the lower part of your lungs then the middle part, then the upper part. 4. Hold your breath for 2 seconds. 5. Exhale slowly. Relax your abdomen and chest. Please deep breathe at a comfortable pace for as many times as necessary to fill the five minute time period, aiming to hold your breath for about two seconds each time. When the time is up, you will be instructed to put away all materials, keeping only a pencil with which to complete the exam. At this time please turn to the next page of directions.

Works Cited Carlson, N. R. (2013). Physiology of Behavior. (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Cassady, J. C. & Johnson, R. E. (2001). Cognitive test anxiety and academic performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27, 270-295. doi: 10.1006/ceps.2001.1094. Cohen, S. & Williamson, G. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States. The Social


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Psychology of Health, 31-67. Retrieved December, 6, 2015 from ILLIAD database. Davis, M., Eshelman, E. R., & McKay, M. (1982). Deep breathing exercises. In The relaxation and stress reduction workbook (complete natural breathing). Retrieved December, 6, 2015 from http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Z2 eZgDkACXsJ: www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/docs/deep_breathing.doc+& cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us Dendato, K. M., & Diener, D. (1986). Effectiveness of cognitive/relaxation therapy and study-skills training in reducing self-reported anxiety and improving the academic performance of test-anxious students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 33(2), 131-135. doi:10.1037/00220167.33.2.131. Ewart, C., Harris, W., Iwata, M., Coates, T.J., Bullock, R., & Simon, B. (1987). Feasibility and effectiveness of schoolbased relaxation in lowering blood pressure. Health Psychology, 6(5), 399-416. doi: 10.1037/02786133.6.5.399. Eysenck, M. W. & Keane, M.T. (2015). Cognitive psychology: A student’s handbook (7th ed.). New York, NY: Psychology Press. Gylys, B. A., & Wedding, M. E. (2013). Medical Terminology Systems: A body systems approach (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company. Karatas, H., Alci, B., & Aydin, H. (2013). Correlation among high school senior students’ test anxiety, academic performance and points of university entrance exam. Educational Research and Reviews, 8(13), 919-926. doi: 10.5897/ERR2013.1462. Morris, L. W. & Liebert, R. M. (1970). Relationship of cognitive and emotional components of test anxiety to physiological arousal and academic performance. Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, 35(3), 332-337. doi: 10.1037/h0030132. Rhoads, C.J. & Healy, T. (2013). Prior-to-exam: what activities enhance performance? Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 10, 1-13. doi: 10.1037/h0030132. Robb, S. L., Nichols, R. J., Rutan, R. L., Bishop, B. L. & Parker, J. C. (1995). The effects of music assisted relaxation on preoperative anxiety. Journal of Music Therapy, 17(1), 2-21. doi:10.1093/jmt/32.1.2 Taylor, J., & Deane, F.P. (2002). Development of a short form of the test anxiety inventory (TAI). The Journal of General Psychology, 129(2), 127-136. doi:10.1080/0022130020960313.

17 Zeidner, M., Klingman, A., & Papko, O. (1988). Enhancing students’ test coping skills: report of a psychological health education program. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(1), 95-101. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.80.1.95

Lisa Casale (’17) is an Occupational Therapy and Psychology major with a minor in Neuroscience. She is a member of the honors program, the Saint Francis University Honors Society, and Psi Chi. On campus, Lisa works as a tutor at the writing center and the tutoring center. After graduation, Lisa plans to continue at SFU to receive her Master’s of Occupational Therapy degree. Ashley King (’17) is an Occupational Therapy major with minors in Psychology and American Sign Language. Here at Saint Francis University she has been proudly involved in the honors program, Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority, the American Sign Language Club, the Student Occupational Therapy Association, the SFU Choir, and the SFU marching and pep bands. She has also attended several ASL immersion experiences including an all-deaf cruise and a trip to the Jamaican Christian School for the Deaf. After graduation Ashley plans to continue at SFU to receive her Master’s of Occupational Therapy Degree. Regan Stubbs ('18) is an Occupational Therapy and Psychology major with a minor in American Sign Language. She is an active participant in the SFU community by being on the executive board of her sorority, Omega Zeta Nu, being a member of the American Sign Language Club, and a member of the S.E.A.L. club on campus. She is also is several honor societies including; Phi Eta Sigma, Psi Chi, Gamma Sigma Alpha, ASLHS, and the Order of Omega. After graduation, Regan plans to receive her master's degree in Occupational Therapy.


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18

Positive Psychology and College Athletes with Individualist and Collectivist Self-Construal Francis de Vries Psychology Department School of Arts & Letters fxd100@francis.edu

Marnie L. Moist, Ph.D. Psychology Department School of Arts & Letters mmoist@francis.edu

NCAA Division 1 college athletes of individualist and collectivist self-construals were tested for various aspects of well-being. Optimism, flow states and eudaimonic wellbeing were measured by the LOT-R, an adapted version of Moneta’s (2012) Key Sections of the Flow Questionnaire and The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Wellbeing, respectively. A Who I Am Poem measured degree of individualist or collectivist mindset. It was hoped to determine whether athletes with individualist or collectivist self-construals experienced a greater sense of well-being. No significant results were found on positive psychology wellbeing between athletes of individualist and collectivist self-construal. However, a near significant result was found; that as team sport participants became more individualistic, eudaimonic well-being also increased. It is theorized that this is due to the positive character qualities built when individuals learn to balance team and individual goals. This, and related findings, highlights that the individualist-collectivist distinction plays an important role in how much overlap occurs between currently separate well-being constructs in positive psychology. In this research study individualist and collectivist student athletes from a rural Division 1 university were compared on their demonstration of three well-being constructs that seem to be closely linked to the field of positive psychology. Positive psychology is a recently emerged field of psychology that focuses on promoting the selfgrowth of an individual through prevention instead of attempting to fix something that is psychologically awry in that individual. As the founders of positive psychology, Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) argue, “the aim of positive psychology is to begin to catalyze a change in the focus of psychology from preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building positive qualities” (p.2). As well as valuing the selfgrowth of the individual, positive psychology also focuses on building such things as altruism and tolerance within communities at the group level.

Defining Optimism, Flow and Eudaimonic Wellbeing. The positive psychology techniques included in this study were optimism, flow states and eudaimonic wellbeing. Optimism can be defined as “a cognitive, emotional, and motivational orientation toward the future, accompanied by the expectation that desired events and outcomes will occur” (Littmann-Ovadia & Nir, 2013, p. 122). “Higher levels of optimism have been related prospectively to better subjective well-being in times of adversity or difficulty” (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010, p. 882). Optimism, therefore, is an essential construct of positive psychology in that it lays the foundation for an individual to experience happiness, especially during tough times for that individual. A flow state occurs when one is completely absorbed in the activity one is doing. In the ground breaking text Flow, Csikszentmihalyi (1990) poses the premise that experiencing flow is the optimal experience that a human being can undergo. One feels as if one is at the peak of her


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abilities, in control of the task she is undertaking; the powerfully positive feeling of being the master of one’s own destiny is created. Also, because flow occurs in an individual who is engaged in a challenge that is manageable, but just above current skill level, self-growth is promoted. Since flow provides this optimal experience of life and promotes self-growth, it becomes another key construct of positive psychology. Eudaimonic wellbeing “refers to quality of life derived from the development of a person’s best potentials and their application in the fulfillment of personally expressive, self-concordant goals” (Waterman et al., 2010, p. 1). Eudaimonic well-being is high in individuals who have found meaning in their lives and are consciously striving to live out this meaning. Since positive psychology attempts to help individuals achieve their personal goals through stimulating self-growth and allows individuals to find meaning in life, eudaimonic wellbeing is a good long term measure of well-being in this context. Individualist and Collectivist Self-Construals The original idea of this study was to measure well-being in individuals of different cultures. However, with limited resources and the absence of a large amount of individuals from different cultures in the surrounding demographic area, individualistic and collective self-construal were used to differentiate participants in this study. Individualist and collectivist self-construals have, to date, provided the most explanatory power for cultural variation (Heine, 2015). A person with a highly individualist self-construal has an independent selfconcept. The individualist sees oneself as a being separate of others and more self-responsible for achieving his or her own goals. The collectivist has an interdependent self-concept. A collectivist sees oneself as having an identity that is more connected to others and is more aware of relationships in his life. The current research suggests that individualists take a more personal approach to achievement, whereas collectivists take a relationship-based approach or may favor building relationships over achievement.

19 Possible Cultural Differences in the Use of Positive Psychology by Individuals How humans of different cultures use positive psychology is still very poorly understood due to the recency of this theoretical perspective. It has been demonstrated previously by Hofstede in his famous IBM study that individuals of different cultures tend to have different self-construals (Heine, 2015). Individuals of western countries such as the United States, Canada and New Zealand, along with most of Europe, tend to have a more individualistic selfconstrual. In contrast, individuals of Latin American countries and large swaths of Asia have a more collectivist self-construal (Heine, 2015). Since it is generally accepted that human beings are products of nature and their culture, the use of positive psychology by individuals around the world could vary greatly depending on cultural norms and their subsequent self-construals. Some cultures may value the ideals of positive psychology more than others. By comparing individualist and collectivist selfconstrual, some preliminary idea may be discovered on which cultures would value the teachings of positive psychology. If people of some cultures do indeed value the use positive psychology, it could lead to greater happiness, improved self-worth and productivity, better relationships and a whole host of other positive benefits in the people of this culture. People of cultures that foster positive psychology ideals less could then learn from individuals in other cultures that place greater value on the ideals of positive psychology to improve their quality of life. Positive Psychology in Athletes Psychology is being seen as increasingly important in sports as they continue to get progressively more competitive (Beckmann & Elbe, 2015). Sport psychology has already contributed much to the improvement of individual athletes and team functioning in many different sports (Beckmann & Elbe). With its strong focus on the self-growth and improvement of individuals, positive psychology could possibly do the same. Flow has already been proven to allow athletes to reach their peak performance, leading to the thought


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that other aspects of positive psychology could achieve similar ends. Although this study does not aim to see whether positive psychology can improve athletic performance, it is an exploration into a social arena where both individualism and collectivism values collide. In all sports, especially team sports, different self-construals are present. These different self-construals lead to different mindsets, which in turn impact performance, determining a number of things such as team functioning, achievement of individual vs team goals and so forth. Moreover, this study may allow the reader to see how often collectivist versus individualist athletes use the techniques positive psychology. Clinical Positive Psychology Interventions There is a glaring lack of research on the differences in the use of positive psychology techniques by people of individualistic selfconstrual versus people of collectivist self-construal. However, there have been studies done on the impact of positive psychology on well-being. One such study focused on enhancing wellbeing and alleviating depressive symptoms through positive psychology interventions. A meta-analysis done by Lyubomirsky (2009) combined 51 different types of positive psychology interventions consisting primarily of verbal scrips read to oneself, on 4,266 total individuals. It was found that positive psychology interventions were found to increase well-being: r = .29 and decrease depressive symptoms: r = -.31. It was also found that the interventions worked best with those who were depressed, those relatively older and participants who were highly motivated to improve. These results mean that people can be taught the techniques of positive psychology in order to improve their happiness or alleviate their depression. Seeing as positive psychology seems to improve well-being and alleviate depression, it would be beneficial for clinicians with knowledge on positive psychology to implement this into their sessions with their clients. In a study done by Swindells, Lawthorn, Rowley, Siddiquee and Kilroy (2013), the effects of a community art program on the psychological

20 health of older people and adults with a mental health diagnosis was studied. Interviews were conducted on 21 people in this program and the impact of partaking in the community art program on the participants’ eudaimonic wellbeing was determined. It was found that the eudaimonic wellbeing of participants was benefitted by participating in the community art program. Of particular significance, the participants suggested that the primary reason for the improvement in their eudaimonic wellbeing was the “cognitive and creative challenge and opportunities for autonomous self-expression and heightened concentration� (Swindells et al., p. 1). The participants were undergoing flow states and this led to greater eudaimonic wellbeing. This connection between experiencing a short-term state of flow and longterm state of eudaimonic well-being has exciting implications for the field of positive psychology, as it gives a template on how one can improve his or her quality of life. In a study done by Littman-Ovadia and Nir, selfapplied optimism interventions were completed by participants. Self-applied optimism interventions in this study consisted of the participant thinking about and visualizing three good things that would happen to them tomorrow, 6 times a week for the duration of a month. Before and after the study, participants completed the Life Orientation Test - Revised, Positive and Negative Affect Scale, Satisfaction with Life Scale and Burnout Measures scale. It was found that participants who had done the daily optimism interventions showed reduced negative affect, pessimism and emotional exhaustion versus the control group who had not done any daily optimism interventions. Optimism intervention participants did not, however, show an improvement in optimism, positive affect or life satisfaction. This study shows that optimism interventions may not actually increase optimism, instead, they may keep more negative emotions and affects away from the user. The current focus of these past studies, with the exception of Swindells et al., have looked at the use of intervention techniques of positive psychology on individuals. All have found significant and


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interesting results verifying the value of these techniques. Swindells et al. found a possible connection between flow and eudaimonic wellbeing when a group setting was examined. Building on these studies, I hope to determine the well-being of student athletes at a NCAA Division 1 university. This makes my study different in that I am comparing multiple aspects of positive psychology on athletes with either a more individualistic or collectivist mindset, a topic in which very little research has been published. For the field of positive psychology to move forward, a refined analysis of well-being must occur. This study will attempt to achieve this while distinguishing possible differences in the level of these measures of wellbeing within athletes of individual and collectivist self-construal. The Current Study The current study was conducted on student athletes of Saint Francis University. They were given a survey comprised of several tests. The Who I Am Poem was used to determine whether the selfconstrual of the participant was individualist or collectivist dominant. Also included on the survey were items to measure optimism, flow states, and eudaimonic wellbeing. It was hoped to determine the nature of well-being within individualist and collectivist student athletes. It was predicted that student athletes of a more collectivist self-construal than individualist selfconstrual would report greater levels of optimism and eudaimonic wellbeing. Collectivist student athletes should be more likely to view themselves as part of an interrelated community. It is well known that individuals who see themselves as part of an interrelated community are often happier than those who do not (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi). This was expected to lead to higher levels of optimism and eudaimonic wellbeing due to more community and social support. It was also predicted that student athletes of individualistic self-construal would experience more flow states than student athletes of collectivist self-construal. This was anticipated because individualists tend to be more focused on tasks and

21 individual achievement rather than relationships with others (Heine, 2015). Therefore, it was expected that individualistic student athletes would focus more continually upon reaching higher selfideal goals. Flow comes from being totally immersed in an activity, something that an individualist trying to achieve his or her goal is likely to experience because of the demands that this goal set upon them mandates. Methods Participants. 47 student athletes from a rural NCAA Division 1 university with a mean age of 19.87 years old, were tested in this study. Of the participants 25 were male and 22 were female. 39 described themselves as Caucasian, 1 as Indian, 2 as African American, and 5 as Latino. In total, 41 out of the 47 participants of this study were American. The current year in college was also asked, with 14 being freshman, 14 sophomores, 13 juniors and 6 seniors. Of the participants, 17 were athletes from a team sport, made up of student athletes from the men’s and women’s sports of soccer and volleyball. Athletes from an individual sport represented 30 of the participants, made up of student athletes from the men’s and women’s cross country, tennis and golf. Participants were all obtained through the Saint Francis University Athletics Department; all of them were athletes currently participating in a sport at Saint Francis University. To partake in the study, participants had to be academically eligible to play their sport in the upcoming season; student athletes that had used up their four years of college athletic eligibility were excluded from this study. Materials. Three surveys, one for each dependent variable tested in this study, and one poem-writing task were given out to all the participants of this study. The survey consisted of total scores from: the Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R) designed by the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami (Carver, 2007) to measure optimism. The LOT-R uses a 5-point scale in which the participant can choose between 5 - I agree a lot, 4 - I agree a little, 3 - I neither agree nor disagree, 2 - I disagree a little, 1 - I disagree a lot. There were 10 total


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questions on the LOT-R, 3 of which were reverse scored. The higher a participant scored on the LOTR, the higher a participants level of optimism was determined to be. No validity or reliability scores were given with the LOT-R. See Appendix 1 for the complete LOT-R. How often a participant experienced a flow state was surveyed through a self-adapted version of Moneta’s (2012) The Key Sections of the Flow Questionnaire, developed from the original Flow Questionnaire created by Csikszentmihalyi and Csikszentmihalyi’s work in 1988. The Key Sections of the Flow Questionnaire was adapted in order to more specifically ask participants how often they experienced flow. A fourth question was added to the survey: “from the activities you listed in question 3, think of the activity in which you experience flow the most. By your best estimation, in how many days over the last two weeks have you experienced flow in this activity?” This question was crucial in determining how often a participant of the study experienced a flow state. See Appendix 2 for the adapted version of The Key Sections of the Flow Questionnaire. The total score on the Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Wellbeing made by Waterman et al. (2010) measured eudaimonic wellbeing. Like the LOT-R, the Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Wellbeing also uses a 5-point scale. The scale starts at 0 for Strongly Disagree and ends at 4 for Strongly Agree. A participant chose either 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 as an answer to each question. In total, there were 21 questions, 6 of which were reverse coded. The higher the score a participant scored on the questionnaire, the higher a participant’s level of eudaimonic well-being was determined to be. See Appendix 3 for the complete Questionnaire of Eudaimonic Well-Being. There were several measures of validity related to psychological phenomena such as identity commitment, satisfaction of life and personal growth found on the Questionnaire of Eudaimonic Wellbeing. Only the satisfaction of life subscale was used, as this was determined to be the most relevant to this study. In this study, eudaimonic wellbeing is used to determine the long lasting happiness of an

22 individual, something that is very similar to satisfaction of life. The reported validity for the Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Wellbeing satisfaction of life subscale was r = 0.47. Reliability was also given for the satisfaction of life subscale, as r = 0.86. The Who I Am Poem, designed by Gorski (1995), determined whether a participant was individualist or collectivist in his or her mindset. See Appendix 4 for a template of the Who I Am Poem, which asked for 11 self-descriptive poem lines. 11 lines were used so that there would be a clear distinction between whether a participant of this study was predominantly individualistic or collectivistic of self-construal. A higher score on the Who I Am Poem defined the participant as individualistic of self-construal, whereas a lower score defined the participant as collectivistic of selfconstrual. Design and Procedure. The level of optimism, eudaimonic well-being, and amount of flow states experienced by participants of individualist and collectivist self construals were examined. The study was a correlational study. Three dependent variables: optimism, flow states experienced, and eudaimonic wellbeing were correlated with individualist and collectivist self-construals. The Who I Am Poem, the LOT-R, the adapted Key Sections of the Flow Questionnaire and the Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Wellbeing were counterbalanced with one another across participants. The order of questions within the LOTR and Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Wellbeing were also randomized. Since both survey tools have many questions, three different orders of questions were made for each survey tool. The completed survey was taken to different coaches of athletic teams within Saint Francis University’s athletics department. A convenient sample was used, comprised of the athletic teams that were thought to be the most likely to fill out and return the survey. It was made sure that both the men’s and women’s athletic teams of the same sport got the survey. Permission for the athletes of the respective coach’s teams to fill out the survey was


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asked. In total, 10 coaches agreed for their sports teams to complete the survey, and were offered an overall summary of results at the completion of the research study. The survey was then handed out by the researcher to the athletes of different sports teams following one of their practices. The athletes were made aware that the survey was not mandatory to complete, but it was hoped that many of them would take the time to complete it. Upon handing out the surveys a Dropbox was placed in the Stokes Athletic Center for athletes to return their completed surveys to. Athletes participating in this study were made aware of the exact location of this Dropbox and were assured no coaches would have access to any individual responses, which would remain totally anonymous. Athletes took the surveys with them and completed them in their own time. It was asked that they were to complete the study in a quiet place, free of distraction. The total time to complete all measures was about 20 minutes. The Who I Am Poem took about half of this time, while the completion of the LOT-R, measure of flow states and Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Wellbeing took the other half of this time. Scoring. The Who I Am Poem was scored by coding responses as to whether they were primarily individualist or collectivist. This was determined by whether a response was focused mainly on oneself, meaning it was individualist, or whether a response was focused mainly upon relationships with others or nature, meaning it was collectivist. The complete guide of how individualist and collectivist results were determined can be found in Appendix 5. A second person, with previous experience in cultural psychology and the Who I Am Poem also coded responses as individualist or collectivist. Inter-rater reliability was verified by Cohen’s Kappa = .79, p = .000, indicating sufficient agreement grading of the individualist – collectivist distinction between the researchers. Results This study included three measures of wellbeing, and alpha was set as .05. For the data sets that were normally distributed, Pearson’s r was used to

23 determine the strength of the correlation. For the data sets that were not normally distributed, Spearman’s rho was used to determine the strength of the correlation. Optimism in Individualists and Collectivists. It was found that as participants’ individualist selfconstrual increased, they were more likely to have higher optimism. However, this finding was not statistically significant, r (45) = + .20, p = .187. Flow in Individualists and Collectivists. As participants’ construals became slightly more collectivist, they were likely to experience more flow states. Again, this finding was not significant r (45) = -.065, p = .664. Eudaimonic Well-Being in Individualists and Collectivists. As individualist self-construal increased, athletes were more likely to have higher eudaimonic well-being. Like the results of the flow and optimism tests, this result was found to be nonsignificant r (45) = + .18, p = .219. Other Results. There was a moderately positive significant correlation between optimism and eudaimonic well-being in the statistical analysis, r (45) = + .58, p = .000. A near significant result was found when the data file was split between team and individual sports. It was found that as a participant who was active in a team sport became more individualistic of self-construal, his or her eudaimonic well-being tended to increase. This result r(15) = .413, p = .099 is not strictly significant, however it is a near significant trend with a moderate positive strength. When this result is compared to participants of an individual sport, the difference becomes apparent. As a participant who was involved in an individual sport became more individualistic, his or her eudaimonic well-being did not increase r(28) = -.116, p = .541. These results are summarized in Table 1. A sport was classified as individual if, at the time of competitive action, the athlete engaged in this sport was competing alone against other members of this sport. The athlete could be


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24

competing against one opponent or many opponents simultaneously, however the extent of their performance was directly due to his or her own athletic prowess and not the athletic prowess of team members. Cross country, tennis and golf constituted the individual sports in this study. In contrast, a sport was deemed a team sport if, at the time of competitive action, the athlete was directly relying on fellow team members for his or her performance and competing against multiple opponents at the same time that were organized into a rival team. Volleyball and soccer were the sports deemed as team sports in this study. Well-Being Measure

Individual Sport r(28) Team Sport r(15)

EWB

OPT

FLOW

- 0.12

- 0.008

- 0.096

0.41

0.357

0.195

Table 1. Athlete Correlations when Split by Individual and Team Sports.

Discussion The results of this study offered no support for the hypotheses posed before the undertaking of this study, as none of the results for the correlation of optimism, flow or eudaimonic well-being with individualist or collectivist self-construal’s were significant. Therefore, the overall role of the individualist-collectivist distinction in various positive psychology well-being states remains unclear. However, the near significant result found; that a participant of individual self-construal currently active in a team sport has increased eudaimonic well-being merits further investigation. This finding is the opposite of an initial prediction made in this study. It was predicted that as participants became more collectivist of self-construal, their eudaimonic well-being would rise. In contrast to this prediction, as participants of this study became more individualistic of self-construal, these participants also had a higher level eudaimonic well-being, although only if they participated in a team sport.

This leads us to ask why are participants of team sports experiencing higher eudaimonic well-being as they become more individualistic of selfconstrual? Several theories can be proposed in an attempt to begin to answer this question. My first theory, the self-sacrifice theory states: one learns to suppress personal goals for the good of the team and this leads to increased long-term well-being. Suppressing personal goals for the good of the team will cause less conflict with other members of the team, leading to a more positive approach by the individual undertaking this behavior. Over time, the individual will also develop his or her altruistic capabilities, leading to a host of positive benefits. My second theory, the goal-equilibrium theory states: one may learn to accept a more balanced practice of individual goals meshed with team goals. Several benefits will come of this practice that can positively impact long-term well-being and happiness. Firstly, personal growth is experienced as one learns to accommodate the needs of others while still finding ways to improve individually. Secondly, moderation is learned. A more moderate approach to situations in life allows one to see multiple sides to situations, facilitating better decision making and the acceptance of the outcomes of situations. Thirdly, balancing team and individual goals will involve the building of co-operation skills. Cooperation skills are essential to building relationships and achieving success in all aspects of life, becoming an important factor that influences long-term well-being. Lastly, learning how to adopt team goals leads to the development of altruism in an individual. Team goals involve helping other people undergo personal growth to achieve a collective goal, something that is sure to build the altruistic capabilities of an individual. My third theory combines the above two theories and is titled the goal evolution theory. This theory states that: both of the above theories are correct. Learning how to balance individual and team goals, and in a wider sense, personal ambition and helping other people happens in stages. First, one suppresses personal goals for the good of the team, but in time, one learns to find a balance between individual and team oriented goals. In doing so, one experiences


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powerful self-growth as the capability for achieving personal goals as well as collective goals is realized. This self-growth leads to the cultivation of good character, where socially desirable traits such as altruism are refined and expressed. Over the longterm, this leads to increased eudaimonic well-being in an individual because of the positive experiences and attributes brought to the individual by learning how to balance the individual and collective good. These results and theories pose some exciting new opportunities for the field of positive psychology. If athletes of individualistic selfconstrual partaking in team sports achieve greater long-term well-being, a whole new line of original research can be opened. As well as the theories proposed above, questions such as “does being part of a collective effort towards an end goal increase long term happiness?”, “Is the collectivist team sport context a defining factor in the development of eudaimonic well-being in athletes?”, “Does true well-being reside in more than an individual’s mind alone?” can be asked of this finding. Furthermore, answers can be found of these questions through further well-designed research studies. These answers could help shape the way positive psychology is applied through community programs and in a clinical setting. To determine whether the near significant finding discovered in this study is indeed something that should be pursued in further research, this study needs to be undertaken again with a larger participant base. More data needs to be collected from a diverse population to obtain more accurate results. The participants in this study all lived in one small demographic area, a small rural Division 1 university. The overwhelming amount of participants that responded to the survey considered themselves Caucasian. Members of the men’s and women’s cross country and men’s soccer were the only participants that returned the survey with any substantial numbers from the team’s that the surveys were handed out too. These aspects of the study could be improved by: firstly, expanding the study to other universities with collegiate athletic programs to increase diversity. Secondly, expanding the number of sports from which participants were

25 given a study, again to increase diversity. Thirdly, asking participants to complete the study as soon as the researcher gives the study to the participant and abandoning the Dropbox method to ensure a higher return rate of the studies by the participants. Another way to improve this study is to better define what constitutes a team sport versus an individual sport. Some clear guidelines need to be set that may be different for athletes participating across the levels of sport. This is especially pertinent at the university level, as almost every sport could be considered a team sport because the results of competition are usually counted as a function of overall team performance. For traditionally individualistic sports such as cross country, track, golf, tennis, and more, this could sway the nature of how this sport is defined in the team versus individual aspect. In this study, the results of competition have been left out of the definitions of individual and team sports, however this may need to be revised. Individual sports were defined as sports in which the athlete was directly responsible for his or her athletic achievement through his or her athletic prowess. Team sports were defined as sports in which the athlete relied on team members for his or her athletic achievement. If this study is conducted again, clear guidelines will need to be set from the outset as to which sports are considered individual-based and which sports are considered team-based. These guidelines may need to be independently tested to ensure their validity as to determining whether a sport is deemed as individual or team. To conclude with the most important finding of this study. Due to the seemingly strong correlation between optimism and eudaimonic well-being, the validity of these being two distinct constructs of well-being within positive psychology needs to be examined. As stated in the results, we can be confident that as optimism increases, eudaimonic well-being increases in a participant. Since the correlation of r = +.58 is moderately strong and the correlation is significant p = .000, these two areas of well-being may need to be considered as one construct of positive psychology that developmentally unfolds in future studies. More


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data will need to be collected to give this result more validity, making the potential meshing of eudaimonic well-being and optimism as one measure of well-being in positive psychology a possible future line of research in the field. Appendix 1 LOT-R A = I agree a lot B = I agree a little C = I neither agree nor disagree D = I DISagree a little E = I DISagree a lot 1. In uncertain times, I usually expect the best. [2. It's easy for me to relax.] 3. If something can go wrong for me, it will. 4. I'm always optimistic about my future. [5. I enjoy my friends a lot.] [6. It's important for me to keep busy.] 7. I hardly ever expect things to go my way. [8. I don't get upset too easily.] 9. I rarely count on good things happening to me. 10. Overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad.

Appendix 2 Flow Questionnaire 1. Please read the following quotes: My mind isn’t wandering. I am not thinking of something else. I am totally involved in what I am doing. My body feels good. A don’t seem to hear anything. The world seems to be cut off from me. I am less aware of myself and my problems. My concentration is like breathing I never think of it. When I start, I really do shut out the world. I am really quite oblivious to my surroundings after I really get going. I think that the phone could ring, and the doorbell could ring and I would not notice. When I start I really do shut out the world. Once I stop I can let it back in again. I am so involved in what I am doing. I don’t see myself as separate from what I am doing. 2. Have you ever felt similar experiences?

26 Appendix 3 Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being This questionnaire contains a series of statements that refer to how you may feel things have been going in your life. Read each statement and decide the extent to which you agree or disagree with it. Try to respond to each statement according to your own feelings about how things are actually going, rather than how you might wish them to be. Please use the scale provided below when responding to each statement. Write which number corresponds to your answer to each question on the space provided after each question. 1 Strongly Disagree

2 Disagree

3 Agree

4 Strongly Agree

1. I find I get intensely involved in many of the things I do each day. 2. I believe I have discovered who I really am. 3. I think it would be ideal if things came easily to me in my life. (R) 4. My life is centered around a set of core beliefs that give meaning to my life. 5. It is more important that I really enjoy what I do than that other people are impressed by it. 6. I believe I know what my best potentials are and I try to develop them whenever possible. 7. Other people usually know better what would be good for me to do than I know myself. (R) 8. I feel best when I’m doing something worth investing a great deal of effort in. 9. I can say that I have found my purpose in life. 10. If I did not find what I was doing rewarding for me, I do not think I could continue doing it. 11. As yet, I’ve not figured out what to do with my life. (R) 12. I can’t understand why some people want to work so hard on the things that they do. (R) 13. I believe it is important to know how what I’m doing fits with purposes worth pursuing. 14. I usually know what I should do because some actions just feel right to me. 15. When I engage in activities that involve my best potentials, I have this sense of really being alive. 16. I am confused about what my talents really are. (R) 17. I find a lot of the things I do are personally expressive for me. 18. It is important to me that I feel fulfilled by the activities that I engage in. 19. If something is really difficult, it probably isn’t worth doing. (R) 20. I find it hard to get really invested in the things that I do. (R) 21. I believe I know what I was meant to do in life.

3. If yes, what activities were you engaged in when you had such experiences? 4. Please write here the name of the activity - among those you stated - which best represents the experienced described in the three quotations, that is, the activity where you feel this experience with the highest intensity: 5. From the activities you listed in question 3, think of the activity in which you experience flow the most. By your best estimation, in how many days over the last two weeks have you experienced flow in this activity?

Appendix 4 Who I Am Poem Please write a poem 10 lines long about yourself, starting each sentence with “I am”. You may write whatever you feel describes you best after “I am”.


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Appendix 5 Grading for Individualist and Collectivist Self-Construal Distinction Individualism is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant” and “a social theory favoring freedom of action for individual over collective or state control”. Applied to this research project an individualistic response in Gorski’s Who I Am Poem was judged to be: • focused on internal qualities of the individual that remain constant within them e.g. I am kind • a description of a personal trait e.g. I am confident • a metaphor which relates back to a personal characteristic e.g. I am the too low headrest on the airplane seat Collectivism is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.” Therefore a collectivist response in Gorski’s Who I am Poem was judged to be: • focused on other people e.g. I am a good listener • describing some event in which other people take part e.g. I am the white lines on a soccer field • a reference to nature e.g. I am a thunderstorm Essentially, if the statement in the Who I Am Poem describes an aspect of the participant it can be graded as individualistic. If the statement in the Who I Am Poem describes the participant within a larger group of people it can be graded as collectivist.

Works Cited Beckmann, J. and Elbe, A. (2015). Sport Psychology Interventions in Competitive Sports. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Carver, C. S. (2007). LOT-R (Life Orientation Test Revised). Retrieved 12 September 2015 from http://www.psy.miami.edu Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., Segerstrom, S. C. (2010). Optimism. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 880-887. Retrieved 12 September 2015 from http://europepmc.org Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow. New York: Harper Perennial. Gorski, P. C. (1995). Who I Am Poems. Awareness Activities. Retrieved 17 October 2015 from http://edchange.org Heine, H. J. (2015). Cultural Psychology: (3rd Ed, pp.221222). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

27 Littman-Ovadia, H. & Nir, D. (2013). Looking forward to tomorrow: The buffering effect of a daily optimism intervention. Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(2), 122136. Retrieved February 10 2015 from PROQUEST database Lyubomirsky, N. L. (2009). Enhancing Well-Being and Alleviating Depressive Symptoms with Positive Psychology Interventions: A Practice- Friends MetaAnalysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 467-487. Retrieved February 10 2015 from PROQUEST database. Moneta, . (2012). On the Measurement and Conceptualization of Flow. In S. Engeser, (1st Ed.), Advances in Flow Research. New York: Springer. Seligman, M. E. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive Psychology: An Introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5-14. Swindells, R., Lawthorn, R., Rowley, K., Siddiquee, A., Kilroy, A. (2013). Eudaimonic well-being and community arts participation. Perspectives in Public Health. 133(1), 60-65. Retrieved 12 September 2015 from PROQUEST database. Waterman, A. S., Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., Ravert, R. D., Williams, M. K., Agocha, V. B., et al (2010). The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being: Psychometric properties, demographic comparisons, and evidence of validity. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(1), 41-61

Francis de Vries (’17) is Psychology and Environmental Studies major. He is a member of the Honors program. Francis has been a member of the Red Flash Men’s Soccer program for four years, a NSCAA Division I All-American 2014 – 2016, a Co-Sida Academic All-American in 2016, a member of the Green Team club, and a member of Team Impact with Men’s Soccer. Following graduation he plans to have a successful professional soccer career, earn a higher education degree in psychology, get involved in environmental conservation, write a book, give back to all the people in his life, and most important – enjoy life!


Call for papers Submission Guidelines The purpose of SPECTRUM is not merely to disseminate new results, but also to inform and enlighten. Our readership is a general and multidisciplinary audience who may not be an expert in your field of study. Consequently, please explain all pertinent concepts essential to understanding your article as well as any concepts that might not be common knowledge. Please submit your file in Microsoft Word format as an attachment to the following email address: bhargittai@francis.edu. The text should be single spaced, using 12-point Times New Roman font. Please use italics, rather than underlining, for emphasis. Organization of Manuscripts SPECTRUM is an interdisciplinary journal accepting submissions from the natural sciences, the humanities, as well as the professional schools (health sciences and business), therefore, the structure and style of each manuscript will differ from discipline to discipline. Regardless, all submissions must provide a cover sheet, a thorough introduction of the problem your research addresses, the conclusion(s), result(s) or findings of your research, as well as some form of bibliographic citation. Below are the general guidelines for these requirements, some of which may not apply to your area of research. Cover Sheet Title Names and departments of undergraduate researcher(s) and faculty advisor(s) Abstract (200 – 300 words) Introduction Include general background of the relevant field and the larger problem your research addresses as well as its relevance within the field. In addition, explain what prompted your investigation, a summary of previous findings related to your research problem and what contributions your project brings (or was expected to bring) to the issue. Methods and Materials (If applicable) Summarize important methods and materials used in your research. Results/Conclusions Give detailed report of the results and or conclusions reached through your research. Discussion Results should be evaluated in the context of general research problem, the implications of which should be explained with conclusions, predictions or suggestions (if applicable) for further study. Tables (if applicable) Create tables in Microsoft Word format and insert into general text accompanied by a table legend. Each table needs a number based on its appearance in the paper, where it is referenced. Figures (if applicable) Please submit figures at the end of the article, one image per page; we will fit these in as we organize the manuscript. Each figure needs a number (the figures shall be numbered consecutively in the order of their appearance in the paper) and a title. SPECTRUM will be printed black and white, but there will be an online version where figures submitted in color will appear in color. References You may use any referencing style you choose so long as it is a standard format or your discipline (IEE, APA, ACS, PubMed) and that you use it consistently and to the appropriate bibliographical standards.

Spectrum volume 7(4)  

Volume 4(3) Spring 2017

Spectrum volume 7(4)  

Volume 4(3) Spring 2017